Thursday, December 07, 2006
"Why make life harder for yourself than it already is?"

Wednesday, September 13, 2006
the good wife
In typical modern-day email forwarding of jokes and people-bashing, a scan of a 1955 Good Housekeeping article came my way titled "The good wife's guide". There is some question about the validity of this article (http://www.snopes.com/language/document/goodwife.asp), but I felt like commenting on it all the same.

Clearly this is one seriously dated article. The 50s sound like they happened on another planet compared to my life which has been as career oriented as it has been family oriented. Where women can pull their weight financially and men contribute domestically. Really it's about choice. In the 50s, women had legal freedoms, but not socially acceptable freedom. Their place was in the home, serving the family. And men were defined by their jobs and their kingdoms - not their time spent in their kids' classrooms, or cooking dinner. I don't believe men want the entire burden of making the money anymore...I also don't believe they want a kiss ass for a partner either. How boring!!

Call me crazy, but I think the general intention of the article has its merits. Anyone that works their bootie off deserves some occasional pampering from the one they love. Sometimes that means cleaning the house for them. Sometimes that means cooking their favorite meal. And sometimes, that means peace and quiet, a scarce environment in plenty of homes with kids. And if you love someone, you get genuine enjoyment in showing that love through thoughtful catering to their needs and making them happy. I think there was a backlash to the sentiments in this article that had people believing that being selfless toward your mate meant doing a disservice to yourself. Look at the movements of the 60s and 70s, and the "me-ism" of the 80s. Sure, donate money, or serve in the soup kitchen. But kind acts for the sole purpose of your partner's enjoyment could be frowned upon after the courting phase was over. And today, both spouses work and feel stretched so thin, they have no time or energy for such acts of devotion.

You know, it's amazing our heads don't spin off our necks. Instead of a phone bill, you have a DSL/cable/cell/text messaging/long distance/server storage bill and 20 devices that you have to investigate/purchase/learn/maintain/upgrade to make it all work! (Go ahead, count them...I bet you get to 20.) Meanwhile, as you are sorting through your confusing bill wondering why it's so high, your 1 year old dropped your cell phone in the toilet. All that time picking the perfect phone which you got at a discount for finding the perfect plan, fighting reception and low batteries, populating your phone book, learning how to change the ring tone and take pictures, getting your ear bud to work, flushed down the toilet.

Ahem. I digress. Just like JELL-O and the dishwasher modernized housekeeping for the 50s, the Internet and cell phones, and fantastic entertainment options have enhanced our lives and revealed new worlds. Choice is power. The Internet is power. More and more people are empowered all over the world than ever before and many civilizations will change as a result.

But in all the information and choice chaos, I have to ask, where are our priorities?

Back to the point of the article... What if you could do something to renew your partner and make them happy? Peaceful? Loved? Doesn't that free them up from bad feelings and stress and make them more capable of returning the same? Doesn't it make you warm when you make someone you love feel special?

A friend of mine did a wise thing. She was married with two boys and declared early on, "This is my circle and what's in the circle is most important. I'm not going to worry about things outside of this circle." The "circle of control" and the slightly larger "circle of influence" are common concepts in the work place, but not used so much in our personal lives. As such, she's not a ladder climber, or hip to the latest gadgets, but she has wonderful, active relationships with her sons.

Time is our most precious commodity. How we spend it should never be taken lightly, just like spending money should never be taken lightly. (Time is money after all...) It should be spent with intention and thoughtfulness. Unlike money, this has nothing to do with being productive. Taking a nap is a wonderful use of time! Even watching TV, if it's something you love. But spend your time with the awareness that you're doing it. Spending time on your lover is never wasted time.

Monday, June 26, 2006
What do I want to be when I grow up?
A folly of a question that leads to frustration and failure (except for that rare individual who actually knows the answer and still feels the same way after they get there). How do you know what sort of house you want to live in until you buy one and live there? No, I really do want 4 bedrooms and a 3 car garage...and yes, closet space does matter! How do you know what job you want until you start working? Gee, I hate working for someone else. Or, I'm surprised I like doing this part of my job - I'll look for more opportunities to do that!

I'm currently reading "Thick Face, Black Heart", a most excellent book on how to be yourself and achieve what you are meant to achieve. It doesn't prescribe morals, but rather is a layer applied on top of your values to help you discover and meet your true calling. This book enables CEOs and criminals alike. (Is that redundant?)

The last chapter I read was on Dharma, which is fulfilling the obligation of your role. If you're a teacher, you teach. If you're a warrior, you fight. If you're a doctor, you cure. Good things will present themselves to you if you follow your dharma.

This chapter made me reflect. I mean, they all have; it's an awesome book. But in particular, it made me revisit the paths I've taken. I have rarely been goal oriented. I never have an answer to the "what do you want to do 5 years from now" question in my development plan. And you know what? That's just fine. Convention says I'm lazy or ignorant - Gee, shouldn't I know where I want to be in 5 years? If I'm not goal oriented, will I be a failure? Many books would have me believe that.

Total hogwash. I always had the notion I couldn't possibly know what I would want in the future, and in retrospect, I was right to have that attitude. My life was (is!) ever-changing. The 20s often are, and it hasn't slowed for my 30s yet. How could I possibly predict? Why bother? It would come to me, whatever "it" was. And it always has. Every change I have made has been for the better. Every step has led to the next.

Take my singing hobby. In the 6th grade, I sang in a talent show. Didn't really want to, but I did. That led to being recruited for the school play, where I sang yet another song by myself. That led to the junior high director recruiting me for his elite music group. Which led to joining the high school jazz choir. My last year in college, I ran into my old director and he said I should join the college jazz choir. So I did, and I had a great time and learned a bunch. Which led to private lessons. A couple years later I kicked off my own band, and a few years after that, joined a jazz band, which I can tell has the potential to be my true calling. Both my band projects have been some of the most fulfilling and life-lesson-learning experiences of my life. All because I chose to walk through each successive door of opportunity.

My career charted a similar course. I explored a few majors at school, but nothing clicked. No magic. Meanwhile, I got a job at the computer center through contacts of my mom's. She worked there too back in the day. My ignorance with computers was painfully exposed and to rectify the problem, I started taking computer courses. Before I knew it, I had declared my major. I had no love of computers, but this path was better than the others and at some point you waste more opportunity trying to find the perfect career instead of pitching that stake in the ground and committing. Through the school I landed a job with my current company. My first position brought on some painful growth until it nearly broke me. But through the encouragement of my mentor (also an unplanned, but pivotal person in my life), I changed to a more appropriate job. As I moved on and recovered emotionally, I dissected my previous job until I squeezed every lesson out of it possible. It wasn't intentional, but rather my nature to do this. I had been so frustrated, helpless, and seemingly unqualified, that I obsessively replayed my interactions until all mysteries were gone. After a good year or two of it, I learned more from my failures in that job than I've ever learned being successful.

I continued to learn and gravitate towards the things I liked and shied away from the things I didn't, morphing my role into what it is today. Even in my first job...I was hired as a "system administrator"... I never administered a single system. Yuck. I showed aptitude for other tasks so of course, they were assigned to me. My job is far from perfect, but, it never will be. It's serving a purpose (besides a paycheck) and dedicating myself to my job will teach me what I need to know and expedite the next chapter in my life.

As I said, I have no love of computers. I imagine this will eventually drive me out of the industry. Where it takes me, who the heck knows, or cares really.

Do what you love. Do what you can. Nothing becomes a career overnight. It's grown and nurtured, and may come as a surprise that first time someone offers to pay you money for something you do. Exposure is everything...

Monday, June 19, 2006
So the question comes to mind, do I only use this blog for the funny, entertaining stories? Frankly, a whole lot more goes on in my life than these musings. Although I did glance back at Zach in the back seat today to find him scratching his nose with his big toe. Better than picking it I guess.

I have been going through a slow transformation ever since I became pregnant. I knew I had to quit my over-committing --> crash-and-burning, manic-depressive tendencies. And almost like magic, I did. Like a light switch, I became more centered, less chaotic. And it stuck after Zach was born. Contrast to what most people told me, life actually got easier after I had Zach (if you discount the actual birthing process...)

Finding that center started me on a journey of self-discovery. My mind quiet enough for the first time to see what was going on and how I was affecting the world and people around me. Since then, a lot has changed based on what I learned. I'm not the same person I was, and I hope to be turning into the person I want to be.

Long story short, I have compiled a list of guiding principles. Any time I wonder what I should do, any time I become stressed, any time I am afraid, the answer has always boiled down to one of these things:

* go with your instinct
* do the right thing
* relax
* be honest with yourself
* be positive
* find your passion, then never let it go
* take care of every moment

The trick to its success, is having the courage to do them...

Tuesday, June 13, 2006
Stop! Thief!

Just like that Jetson's episode when all the robots in the town band together to sabotage George's day, the security gates at department stores are out to get me.

Ok, not really. Unlike George, it's been my own (naive) fault and not the result of pissing off Rosie the robot maid. For a good month, it seemed something snuck into my purse that set off the alarms at the stores. One time it was a CD case that still had an "active" security strip inside. I started having nervous breakdowns going in and out of Wal-Mart, getting stopped and wondering why I was setting the alarm. It doesn't help that Wal-Mart intentionally sets off the alarm so they can check your receipt when you buy a $20 watch (oh yeah, high ticket item...). Needless to say I was starting to have nightmares. I had issues getting in and out of Macy's as well. For a few good weeks, I had a serious anxiety. Let's just say the Christmas shopping season was tainted.

Just when I thought I was recovered... I walked into Macy's yesterday and set off the alarm. "What!", I thought. "What the hell am I carrying!" Hmmm. Nothing in the purse. Double what the hell. Somehow I figured out I had left the security tag on my pants. Anne Taylor (Loft) sews in security tags and you're supposed to cut them out when you get home. Well, I was lazy. If I knew it would come back to haunt me, I would have cut it out for sure!

No scissors on me, no pocket knife or switchblade. I was stuck. I went ahead and did my shopping, all the while knowing I had to get out of the store. As I went downstairs and meandered through the shoe department, my stomach was starting to knot up. There was the entrance to the mall and somehow I had to make a run for it. Now in the make-up section, eyeing my escape route, I watched a woman head out to the mall and set off the alarm. Looking confused, she headed back towards the counter to get her bag checked.

As she turned to leave again, I found myself doing something a bit unbelievable. If it hadn't felt so damn clever, my sense decency would have kicked in. I hurriedly walked out on her heals and, yes, I triggered the alarm. She turned back and looked at me, but I simply kept on walking. Bewildered, she turned around again to get her bag checked, and I made my clever escape.

I may be going to hell.

Monday, June 12, 2006
Work had a little employee contest in honor of one of their calculators hitting it's 25 year anniversary, and still being sold today practically unchanged. The contest was to win one of the anniversary calculators by telling a story about how the calculator affected my life. Given my unusual track record of winning things at work...I went ahead and did it. Here was my submission:

As a kid, I saw my mom go back to school to get her Computer Science degree. I grew up drawing on greenbar paper and punch cards, typing on her clunky homemade terminal, and playing with this calculator (except it seemed to work backwards!) It was a fixture at the house, laying by the bills or her homework, and seeing a picture of it instantly transports me to that time in my life. I went on to get my own excellent HP calculator, and my own Computer Science degree...and she still uses her 12c!

HP 12c platinum anniversary edition

Monday, December 26, 2005
the aftermath
Like a wedding day, all that planning and it's gone. Lucky for us, we didn't plan much this year. :) Of note, it was Zach's first Christmas and he did great. A bit overstimulated at times, but had lots of fun with the family. (It was mutual). Plenty of great food, lots of haul, pinochle, and who could forget grandma squirreling away her goodies midday, right before she put her pants on, then her new underwear over her pants, to go to bed. At least they weren't on her head like I showed her...

Friday, December 23, 2005
Seems there are more and more decorated houses each year. It's amazing. I love driving through neighborhoods on a dark, foggy night to look at the glowing lights. We still need to take Zach for a late evening stroll to look at lights. He looooves lights. :) Though the houses are not much to see in the day time. Cords and cables. Ugly wire structures. Deflated pools of nylon that turn into giant snowmen and Santas at night. All covered in yucky wet leaves. Where do these people store this stuff??? My goodness, if we decorated our house like that, we'd have to move.

Friday, May 06, 2005
My first mother's day
Mother's day has a whole new meaning for me now. Actually, it was all about Zach. We've not taken so many pictures for mother's day in a long time. :)

I'm honored to be a mom now.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005
the unexpected conveniences
He loves the swing, and the mobile, and other battery sucking toys, but we've discovered new applications for non-baby things that have made our lives easier. Babies eat, sleep and poop. Anything you can do to make these three tasks easier to manage is worth the time and money.

* Every bedroom should have a dimmer switch. Instant ambiance, and it makes putting to bed and midnight diaper changing less harsh.

* Get a rocker/glider that is a nice piece of furniture, not baby furniture. I purchased my glider many years ago for reading before I moved out.

* We had issues keeping our baby boy from peeing up the back of his outfits. Every diaper change = outfit change. Tedious. First we bought a bunch more onsies. And now we put a maxi pad across the top of his diaper. Silly, but it works!

* Adult bed in the baby room. Or a futon, which is what we have. If he won't go down, it's easier to plop on the futon and nap with him, especially if his spastic arms keep him up. Some day if we have a second baby, we'll invest in a good twin bed to replace the futon, and eventually give it to Zach when he graduates from the crib.

* Odor eaters. Little canisters with vents and some weird substance inside that absorbs odors. They're in the cleaning aisle of the grocery store or Home Depot. Use next to the diaper pail. 'Nough said.

* Clock radio with CD player. The radio is the only way I keep in touch with the outside world right now, plus Zach can go to sleep to some baroque.

* Blank journal. Use it to record stuff you need to tell the doctor at checkups, and write down your questions because you'll forget. Take it to the doctor's and use it to take notes. I image the journal will be an interesting read later.

* Waterproof pads for the beds. It really sucks to put the baby down on your bed while you get ready, only to find a big wet spot when you pick him up. Save your mattresses (yours, the crib, the bassinet, the spare bed...) and invest in waterproof, washable pads. I got ours on sale at JCPenny.

* Burp clothes. AKA spit rags. Instead of "designer" baby towels, or even cloth diapers, we opted for a big package of car cleaning towels at Costco. They're bright yellow (stains don't show and they're easy to find) and they're super soft.

* Lots of tubs and baskets. Babies come with lots of stuff. We have a basket downstairs for diaper and clothes changing. Another big tub to rotate out clothes that no longer fit (YES that's happening already!) Tubs for toys. Buckets for bath items. Another emergency diaper basket in the car. I could go on.

* TV + DVD player. Ok, we don't have this yet, but plan to. My laptop works for now. If you're stuck in the baby's room, it's nice to have entertainment. Later Zach can watch his movies and Baby Einsteins without occupying the main TV.

* Dark curtains. We sleep strange hours, as most new parents do. My main sleeping block is from 9am to 2pm. We hung dark curtains in the bedroom to keep the sun out. Or buy a sleeping mask... Sometimes I use both.

* A backpack instead of a diaper bag. We're using a basic bag with several inside mesh pockets, but eventually we'll switch to a laptop backpack. LOTS of pockets. Lots of dividers meant for papers and computer, great for separating diapers from toys from clothes from snacks. Top it off with padded back and straps for long strolls through malls, fairs, zoos and the like. More practical than any diaper bag we've seen, and cheaper than designer garbage. And it's "manly"; my husband can be seen in public with it.

* Tissue at the changing table. To prevent diaper rash, we use tissue to pat him dry before the clean diaper goes on. It's soft and disposable. Perfect.

* Chalk board. We use it to write the baby supply shopping list, to-dos, and to record when we made the last bottle so we know when to toss it. In the first couple weeks, we used it to track feedings and diaper changes until he stabilized. Later Zach can draw on it.

And don't forget all your moment-capturing gadgets: digital camera, digital recorder, photo editing software, scanner, web site for the relatives, and the like. :) Blogger rocks!!

Tuesday, April 26, 2005
midnight musings
It's my midnight anyway. I guess. I don't know what my "night" is anymore. I don't even keep track of what day it is.

Slowly but surely I'm learning what's it's like to have a child. So far it doesn't compare to any other experience. When Zach and I slipped a step on the stairs yesterday, I was scared in a whole new way. I've never been scared for someone else, forgetting myself completely. My leg could have been broken and I wouldn't have realized it. He was crying and couldn't communicate if he was hurt or just stunned. I had to figure it out. No time for panic, or feeling guilty. And I was afraid to move him until I knew why he was crying. So kept him on the step and nuzzled his face with mine for a minute until he calmed. I figured he'd keep screaming if he was hurt. He stopped. No harm, except to my nerves...

He's a boy. And if he's like other boys, he'll rough and tumble. Heck, if he's like I was, he'll rough and tumble. Who knows how many times I came home bleeding. How many concussions? It's amazing children live through childhood. And now it's my turn to nurse and comfort, and hope and pray he doesn't do anything serious; to let him explore and reach, and go on adventures, like I did. To go against the struggles I already have about over-protecting. How do moms do it? How do they let go?

Geez he's only 7 weeks old. It's a long time before I need to be worrying. :)

Saturday, April 16, 2005
One thing at a time
Needless to say my life has changed in the last 6 weeks (Zach will be 6 weeks tomorrow). With someone so dependent on us, I've learned to lower my expectations. Not about Zach of course! but about what I can get done.

I'm a multi-tasker from way back. It's natural for me to think 5 steps ahead so I can do things in the most efficient manner, many times out of sequence. That's fine if you're not interrupt driven...well...

My to-do list used to be long. Now I never have more than 2 to-dos on the list at any time. I might have a 3rd or 4th on the back burners of my brain, but they're not on the list. Up through yesterday it was:

1. Taxes
2. Baby announcements

Now it's:

1. Baby announcements
2. Family financial plan

This gets mingled in with house chores, bottle washing, Heather washing and the like. Even then, I set out to do one thing in the house until it's done. Sometimes it takes 2 days to finish the dishes...but hey...they get done.

I find my new system rewarding. I tend to finish more of what I start and I don't feel stressed or rushed (although submitting our tax return at the 11th hour did not give a warm fuzzy). Maybe I'm on to something. Maybe it will all fall apart when I try to rejoin the band? Maybe it will turn to chaos when I return to work? Hard to say.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005
Bored no more
Now that we're settling into our routines, time to reminisce about the experience...

Zach was born 10 days late. I wasn't uncomfortable and he wasn't stressed so we opted not to induce right away. Two weeks is the cut off. Thursday, one week after my due date, I got my first "stress test" to make sure the little guy was okay - check fluid levels and stuff (what am I, a car??) I was already having five minute contractions. Who knew? One cm dilated however was not considered much progress...

Saturday things picked up and I could lightly feel the contractions. I snuck in a big nap and when I woke up I walked around the house to spur the contractions on. This light laboring went on all night. Jason went to bed and I woke him up about 5am. We got ready and I called the hospital. Seems I wasn't in enough pain yet. I needed contractions 3min apart, not 5, and my pain needed to hurt so bad I couldn't talk or walk. Hmmm... Okay.

Jumped in the shower to ease off the pain that was kicking in. Two hours later I was meeting all pain qualifications (oh baby) so we took off for the longest car ride of my life (and Jason's).

By the time we arrived, I was sobbing, shaking and damn tired from being up all night. They put me in the triage room where I was forced to sit upright. Pain, pain, pain. After a half hour of who-knows-what, my dilation was still only 1 cm. I have never been so disappointed in my life. Now I was really sobbing because their policy is you must be 3 cm to be admitted. I was never going to make it! The battleaxe midwife proceeded to check my fluid levels with an ultrasound and stopped looking half way through the exam, logged it as not having enough fluid, and I was thus admitted. For someone unsympathetic to my situation, she sure did me a favor.

I walked to my labor room because walking was better than SITTING in a wheelchair, and I could stop along the halls to work through the contractions. Drugs. I wanted drugs. My plan was to hold off and "see what I was capable of". Well, I was done and I wanted drugs.

They did not come fast enough. After taking my vitals, they had me go in the shower. This helped me relax and stop sobbing. An hour later they fetched me, but the idea of getting out was enough to stress me out the contractions got out of control. By now it was about 8 or 9am - I forget.

Mom and Dad showed up. Jason's mom showed up at some point as well, but I don't remember when.

Okay. Drugs. I got an IV, and a second drip for drugs. With the first poke the nurse said "oops, your vein exploded". That's going to leave a mark (yup). Needle in the side of the wrist it is. And the drugs worked fast - in seconds and I was, ahhhh, not in pain. My eyelids had weights on them. Someone was talking. Could I focus? Nope. Time for night night and a lovely three hour nap. I vaguely remember the anesthesiologist coming discussing my epidural. Then the drugs wore off and the contraction pain woke me up. Damn.

Here comes the epidural, finally. This is a 10 minute process and you have to sit up and be extremely still, contraction or not. I was proud of my feats of strength. Once the epidural was in, we were in business and I proceeded to get many cords and cables plugged into me: IV, pitocin to get me to dilate, epidural, baby heart monitor (external), contraction monitor (external), blood pressure cuff, catheter. And I couldn't lay down anymore or the numbness would creep up my chest and make it hard to breath.

Hours later, his heart rate was dipping lower than comfortable for the doctors so they took me off the pitocin and stuck an oxygen mask on my face. And they put me up and on my side because the baby liked that better.

Hours later, after being flipped like a pancake several times and trying to nap, I wasn't dilating anymore. They changed the external contraction monitor to an internal monitor (don't ask) to measure the size of the contractions, not just the frequency, and they turned the pitocin back on.

Hours later, I was miraculously 8-9 cm dilated. Time to get the show on the road. The doctor said we would try a vaginal delivery, but if the baby got too stressed, we'd go emergency cesarean. Meanwhile, she recommended forceps or the vacuum to help him out. We went with her recommendation of the vacuum.

Ok, here we go. I was fortunate to have many sporting experiences to draw from. When the coach says last lap/sprint/bulldog drill, you stupidly believe him and run your little butt off, only to find out you have to do it again; you'd be amazed how many laps you can actually run when someone makes you do it.

Push, push, push.

15 minutes later, Zachary was born. They laid him on my chest and I was amazed at how warm he was, and how big - geez - no wonder that was hard. Then he was whisked over to the scale for his appgar test by the pediatric doctor. Didn't score high enough: too pale, not crying much, too sleepy, so away he went to the nursery for a couple hours. Meanwhile they sewed me up.
I had an episiotomy, which I won't go into detail about except to say it is not a convenient place to have pain, swelling and stitches... Jason actually watched the whole thing. Didn't get woozy - I was proud. Apparently the vacuum wasn't helpful, except that Zach seemed to like it. When she affixed it to his head, his heart rate would go up... Go figure.

Hours later, in the recovery room, I finally got my baby. We were both tired and it showed. Jason was also tired poor thing - both he and my parents stayed up with me the entire time, sneaking in naps when they could. We spent the next 2 days in the hospital. He didn't have eating figured out right away so we stayed an extra day to make sure he was okay. At the end of it all, the doctors were very happy with his recovery and his head was looking good considering its trauma. He had an enormous bruise where the vacuum was and a serious cone head. He did NOT like his head touched; must have had a headache poor thing.

And Tuesday we went home!

Now that it's 2 weeks later I ask myself if it was worth it. The 30 hour labor. The pregnancy. The sleepless nights. The life change.

Having this baby with Jason was the best thing I ever did. I would do it again in a heart beat.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005
I haven't felt this bored since I was a kid. Yesterday was a particularly bad day, though today I feel better. The due date is tomorrow. Our downfall was predicting the baby would be early, which meant the last 2 weeks were looong. One can only putter around the house for so many days in a row. The bedroom is more than ready. Even just this weekend, J.T. replace all of the outlets because some were loose and some didn't work. Talk about looking for things to do...

This is the year of the boys. Our friends had twin boys 2 weeks ago (6 weeks early). One boy should be able to come home this weekend, though the other will have to stay longer. My cousin is due to have a boy in a month or so, and our friends just found out their baby is a boy. And our other friends have a planned c-section for their boy tomorrow (yes...on our due date...) Gatherings will be quite an adventure! After hearing my male friends talk about their growing up, I'm afraid of what will get blown up by these rascals!

Sunday, December 05, 2004
A little bigger
I'm now 28 weeks and boy have things progressed. For starters, it's a boy. We found that out during our 19th week. He's since been growing steadily and I have been feeling him more and more. I'm hardly showing and it's easy to conceal that I'm pregnant if I want to, especially in the winter time. We started birthing classes and I'm the smallest in my class. :) At the ultrasound exam he was normal size so I assume I just hide it well. Plus it seems many of the other mothers-to-be in the class have put on unnecessary weight, which I have managed not to do. I've gained about 15 pounds, while in contrast another gal with the same due date has gained 30. You're only supposed to gain 25-35. I'm happy to say I'm right on track. My doctor is happy about that as well.

He's kicking a bit. I thought he was doing dive bombs to my pelvis, but I may have been mistaking that for Braxton Hicks (sp?) contractions. The kicks (or punches??) are easy to identify, but the rest, well... it's either a butt, a head, or a contraction. J.T. has been able to feel him from the outside. Even tonight, Mom and Dad got to feel a couple little bumps. I am curious how he is oriented because I only feel the bumping on the left side. Sometimes it is quite rapid and I wonder if his leg (arm?) can really move that fast, or if it's two limbs and he's really coordinated. But usually, he just hangs out, mellow.

The second trimester was a joy. I was Wonder Woman. Lots of energy, few discomforts, felt and looked great. Even slept better. Now I'm starting the third trimester and I'm sure it will not be as easy. I've started my yoga and everything, but my hips and lower back are starting to get achy. And I feel I have no room in my torso...where on earth is he going to fit? He has another 3-4 lbs to go! Already it's difficult to eat. A snack and a glass of milk and I'm bloated. My stomach gets smaller but my appetite will increase - hardly fair!

But all in all, I cannot complain. Some of my peers have had a tougher time. And we are increasingly excited. No worries, doubts, or anxiety about being a parent yet, just excited for him to finally get here. Either we're confident, or reality hasn't set in yet. :)

Friday, September 10, 2004
Like a hummingbird
Why is it we can plug practically the entire band into one power strip without problems, but when I run the toaster and the microwave at the same time, it trips??

The real question is why do I keep doing it?

No matter.

J.T. and I got a special experience yesterday at the doctor's. Not something you can say all the time, is it? Well, when you're going to check on your baby, it's always special. The doctor used his little amplifying tool on my belly and we got to hear the baby's heartbeat. Man, it was going a mile a minute! Sounded like a propeller underwater. I mean, it is underwater so to speak.

I'm 16 weeks now. That's 16 out of 40. If you do the math, that's 10 months total. They count funny. You feel pregnant for about 36 of those weeks (i.e. 9 months). The first two weeks are a no-op, and the second two weeks you don't KNOW you're pregnant yet... :) All the same I'm due Feb 24. And all the same, I'm out of the first trimester, which was tough. Though not as tough as other women have had it. I can't complain really (but if you ask J.T. I'm sure I did.) Friend of mine was throwing up five and six times a day. Now that's bad!

Sunday, August 01, 2004
Where have I been?
Well, busy gets to be an old and tired reason for not doing things. The reality is this blog has been less important than other areas. Now what's wrong with that? Nothing I say.

Nobody reads this silly blog that doesn't already know so it's safe to say that my hubby and I are expecting. Naturally it made me wonder if the new year's resolutions I made at the start of the year had any relevance anymore. Hmmm.

Try meditation
Beautify the front yard
Take my lunch to work more
Experiment with one or two new exercise routines
Create a Heather sanctuary in the house
Create a family financial plan

Let's see. Meditation, naw. Beautify the front yard? Not so important. Take my lunch to work. This I'm actually doing. New exercise routine. Does "Yoga for Pregnant Women" count? I haven't tried it yet, but it certainly classifies as an experiment. Heather sanctuary - it will have to wait. :( And the family financial plan suddenly got a lot more important.

Two things have changed in the area of finances: 1) we bought a "new" used family-friendly-better-than-Heather's-faitfulbutold-Nissan car, which means we have a car payment. And 2) we have to afford a baby plus pay for expenses during any time off I take.

And buying furniture. And diapers! And saving for college! AAAaaack! Oh, wait. The baby isn't even here yet. Whew.... I have to remind myself that the baby doesn't care if its room is decorated. It doesn't care if its diaper is changed on a diaper changing table. It doesn't care if it sleeps in a dresser drawer (or so I hear).

All things in perspective.

So new goals for the year are

-take care of myself (good food, rest, exercise)
-create a family financial plan
-try to wrap up house projects so the baby room can be somewhat ready
-park the car in the garage :)

That's it. That's all I'm committing to!

Sunday, May 23, 2004
I have this habit, I won't call it bad, of picking up a book and not finishing it. I'm currently reading "Spin Sisters", "Pride and Predjudice", "From Potter's Field", "Hardball for Women", and "Wicked". Ridiculous.

Actually I just finished "Wicked" by Gregory Maguire. It was facinating. The life story of the wicked witch of the west. It's a luxory to find a book that's sophisticated, not pretentious, and not over my limited vocabulary. Oh, I had to keep a dictionary close by for this one, but it was usually worth it. Anyway, I highly recommend it if you don't mind a few somewhat graphic scenes. Not for kids...

And actually, J.T. and I are reading Patricia Cornwell's "From Potter's Field" together. The Kay Scarpetta series is one of my favorites and now he's reading them for the first time. It's fun!

Sunday, May 02, 2004
Cursed Pockets
I love pockets. Really I do. But they trick me every time. It's like our cats. Well, Harvey really. No matter how conscious we are to cat-proof our laundry, he still manages to trot down the stairs with a pair of my underwear in his mouth.

That's how I feel about pockets. I do most of the laundry washing in the house and I try, I swear I do, I try to empty the pockets before dumping the clothes in. A couple weeks ago I left a tube of chapstick in my pocket and it made its way to the dryer. Melted wax everywhere. As you can imagine, most of the clothes were demoted to "around the house" or thrown away altogether. Gotta make a better effort to check pockets or I might get fired (a not-so-original way to get out of chores).

Today is laundry day. I checked the pockets. Load one produced a tube of lipstick in the bottom of the washing machine (not the dryer thank goodness). "Grrrr" I said. Ok, you got me. I only checked the "used" pockets forgetting I stowed that lipstick in my stupid cargo pocket on the knee which I otherwise never use. Load two, I methodically checked pockets. In transferring the clothes from washer to dryer, damn it if a tissue didn't sneak through and shred all over. Oh, and 2 hair barrets in the bottom of the washer for good measure. "bleep, bleep, bleep" I said. Hmmm, there was a bathrobe in there. Maybe I missed a pocket. Or checked the same pocket twice? Maybe I should install video surveillance?

The end result is the same. I can't take it anymore. I'm only washing socks!

Sunday, April 18, 2004
Our Vacation
For our 2 year anniversary, we flew off to Las Vegas for a few days. We went mid-week to save on plane and room prices. Gambling was cheaper too since the casinos were slow. We stayed at Treasure Island hotel which has grown up a bit since I last saw it. Much more "adult"... TI (as they like to call it now) had the neatest bar called Kahunaville. Wednesday night they had a band, and Thursday night it was karaoke, but that wasn't the neat part. The bartenders were right out of a movie, juggling bottles and shakers, pouring 5 drinks at a time, slinging bottle openers around like guns, rolling glasses down their arms...holy cow! Neat stuff!! TI also has a street side show that I'm sure is worth watching. It was cancelled the two nights we tried to see it. :-( Overall though, a fun hotel.

The highlights of our trip include seeing the Cirque du Solei show, which was, of course fantastic (though not as good as La Nouba). We followed up the show with an expensive, very excellent, steak dinner in our hotel. We did lots of window shopping at the upscale malls, walked around many of the casinos, including the new Paris (mmmm, good crepes). Hard Rock turned out to be one of our favorite hotels. Comfortable, not too big, cool black jack dealers, fun atmosphere - seemed to cater to the 30-something crowd. The Stratosphere was hands down, the worst hotel. Another night we had a fabulous Italian dinner at the Mirage - soooo good. And the last big highlight: I played poker! Texas hold 'em 3/6, meaning the first two betting rounds are $3 and the last two betting rounds are $6. Fixed, low, betting makes the whole thing less intimidating. I was a bit nervous, especially when I had a hand worth playing, but after a couple hours I calmed down and made less mistakes. I only lost $40 bucks - not bad for a few hours of play. And the highlight for J.T., was passing through the Bellagio on our way out to find a handful of professional poker players in the poker room. J.T. is always watching the poker shows and tournaments on TV and it was a real treat to see TJ and the Professor in action at the same table. We wanted to get an autograph or two but had to catch our plane instead. Maybe next time!

Saturday, April 17, 2004
Easter Sunday
Last Sunday was Easter. A time for good food with the family. J.T.'s mom brought us an Easter basket, and bunny ears for the both of us. I didn't realize how much I swung my arms in the space over my head until I had something to knock off. In the spirit, we both wore our ears throughout the celebrating and have cute pictures to prove it. In turn, we also gave out gifts. Each place setting at the table had a dressed up bear or bunny sitting on it, guarding the napkin. Mine was dressed as a strawberry (naturally), Grandma got the banana dressed bear - there was a grape, pineapple, apple and watermelon too, and they all smelled like their respective fruit. So cute!! Since there were only 6 fruit animals, I had to get an extra animal for J.T. which was a bear in a black sheep's costume. :-)

J.T.'s mom also brought hard boiled eggs and an egg decorating kit. What fun! Everyone dipped at least one egg, including both grandmothers. And you thought egg decorating was just for kids. Hah! Naturally, this provided an opportunity to reminisce about Easters spent at Grandma's. I'm an only child, and on that side of the family, I'm an only grandchild. Sometimes you have to entertain yourself... Eggs were hidden, and found, and hidden, and found, and hidden, and found, ... until the grown-ups were tired of hiding them or the eggs fell apart. I don't even remember decorating the eggs. Just finding them over and over and over. I always did love hide and seek.

The rest of the day was spent sitting on the covered patio blowing bubbles in the spring breeze, chatting in the kitchen, and later watching the King's obliterate the Lakers.

Friday, April 09, 2004
2 years
Next Tuesday is our 2 year anniversary. We've almost been married as long as we've dated. :) Way back when I was engaged, my coworkers took me out to lunch to wish me well with the wedding. As part of the entertainment, everyone was given a slip of paper to write some words of advice for the soon-to-be-married. Nearly everyone at the table was married so the advice was, well, special. Sounds corny, but I really appreciated it. One I wanted to take to heart was "always get away for your anniversary, even if you just go away for the weekend". What better time to put life on hold so you can honor your special relationship?

Last year we drove to San Francisco for the weekend. We had a fantastic time. This year, we're flying to Las Vegas to hang out for a few days. We booked early so the price wasn't too bad. We have reservations for the Mystere show by Cirque du Soleil, but are otherwise winging it for the trip. We'll probably walk around and see what's new since last time, check out some clubs, do a little gambling, and eat at some fancy restaurant.

Friday, March 19, 2004
Not much writing since January. Hmmm I wonder why that could be? What's changed since then?? Maybe it's the Dish network and Tivo? I have to admit I've watched more TV than ever before. Ahhhh, no commercials is a beautiful thing. I can rip through a half hour show in 15 minutes. I'm especially fond of the Home and Garden network. So many design shows! It's so inspiring!

My grandmother asked me if I'd been working on any of my resolutions. Uhhhh, hmmmm. Not really. The first step of the financial plan is to do our taxes. That is underway. I expect Dance Dance Revolution on our PS2 to be an exercise alternative, but I haven't been doing it. I bought a couple exercise videos, but haven't used them. The Heather sanctuary will be the master bathroom, but I won't work on that until the kitchen is done.

Three months into the year already - I better get going!

Monday, February 23, 2004
So I had a dream last night that I got a thousand dollar parking ticket. Was it guilt, or a premonition?

Monday, January 19, 2004
Happy Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. day! Time to reflect on how lucky we have it, and that we got here not by accident, but by the hard work and sacrifice of many people fighting for change and fighting to protect rights.

Sunday, January 18, 2004
My resolutions
I've been rewriting my resolutions for the last 3 weeks. I pondered what I'd do; I thought about monthly resolutions, then semi-monthly. I've added and removed. But I think I have it now.

incidentally, part of the pondering was reflecting on last year's. Not too shabby. I didn't expect to become an expert keyboard player, or fluent in another language, but I did make progress. Just two nights ago I played keyboard at a gig. It was only two songs, but hey, it's progress. :) I have three or four more on deck! And needless to say I picked up a few words on my trip to Germany.

So it's progress I'm aiming for, not miracles. Here they are for 2004!

Try meditation
Beautify the front yard
Take my lunch to work more
Experiment with one or two new exercise routines
Create a Heather sanctuary in the house
Create a family financial plan

Tuesday, December 30, 2003
Call it the year of the TV! J.T. and I made out pretty good with the TV this year. Actually, the TV is unchanged. But we now have a new DVD player, Direct TV (no more bunny ears!!!), a Nintendo GameCube so I could get the new Zelda game, Dance Dance Revolution for the PS2, another couple games, and tens of hours of movies, including the first season of Babylon 5 and a grocery store bag full of duplicate James Bond movies from Mom.


All in all Christmas was nice. It was without my great aunt this year which was sad for all of us. She is dearly missed. Food was good as usual. Mom made out like a bandit - when the presents were all passed out, they were so piled up around here you almost couldn't see her! Then the classic pinochle. Boy did I get my bootie kicked...twice... :(

Wednesday, December 24, 2003
Merry Christmas Eve!
Traditionally, this day has planned festivities, but this year, we're just hanging at home. We did something Sunday. We did something Monday. That should hold me through until Christmas (although I'm dying to see what's in my stocking!)

Up until 6 or 7 (or is it 8?) years ago, it was tradition for me and my parents to drive to my grandma and grandpa's little apartment for Christmas Eve. My aunt's family would come too and we'd open presents and eat lots of food, including the beloved crab dip, and grandma's special punch in that one punch bowl that only saw the light of day once a year. We had 2 tables - the "adult table" and the "kids table". Even as I got older, I still sat at the kids table, usually with my cousin and her grandpa, who was a big kid in disguise.

That cousin was close in age to me. We'd usually play in the back bedroom while the adults mingled and talked about things we didn't care about. I don't know how it started, but one year, we found some small, lunch sized paper bags and made puppets. It evolved into a puppet show. I have no idea if our little stories had plots. One year, her grandpa even made us a stand up "puppet stage" that we could hide behind. (What did we hide behind before that???) Hey! It was kind of like those silly Fandango ads!!

Tuesday, December 23, 2003
I guess I need new New Year's resolutions to go along with my new blog title. Resolution number one is to figure out what I'm allergic to in my bedroom. I walk around the house just fine, then go to bed and get all sniffled up. I bought a book called "The Complete Allergy Book". Sounded definitive.

Today was our first day of opening Christmas presents. J.T.'s mom was nice enough to give a gift to our undeserving cats. A mechanical mouse that runs around in circles, says "nay nay nay nay nay", then plays dead waiting to be touched again before it starts its taunting routine all over again. Jo Jo the Zen Cat is not so interested, but Harvey is borderline obsessed. When the mouse plays dead, Harvey can't help himself - he has to touch it. He's obsessed because he hasn't "figured it out" yet. You can see the tiny gears moving behind his eyes as he works on a problem. Too smart for our own good if you ask me.

Credit where credit is due. They were both good today. We finally got a Christmas tree up. Or rather J.T. picked out and put up the tree while I spent the latter half of the day recording band stuff. ($3.99 tree special at Home Depot!) The cats insist on drinking the tree water, but so far the tree is still intact. Tomorrow we may brave ornaments.

Such a full day for both of them - they're conked out on the bed. Mmmm so cute when they're asleep...

Sunday, December 21, 2003
First round!
It's almost been a year. Time to think of a new name for my blog...

Today marked the first of the Christmas festivities. An extended family dinner at my mom's house with my parents, Grandma, and my mom's niece and her family - including new 7 month old baby grandchild, Hunter (if you're doing the math...that makes my mom a great-great-aunt!) Their house has never seen a baby before. The couches must have tasted good because Hunter kept trying to eat them.

The youngins got to open a few presents; I gave my cousin a complete "reference" on dragons, that included swatches of "scales" and "membranes" - a clever and creative book, beautiful really. I think J.T. was jealous. :) The food was good, as usual. Dad was excited to do something on the rotisserie - anything, really. He just wanted to use his new toy. The turkey was really great, and inspiring since our Thanksgiving turkey has not been interesting the last couple years. We may have to experiment with the grill.

All in all a nice evening. Tomorrow: lunch with J.T.'s mom and a little gift exchange before she heads down south to see J.T.'s brother.

And maybe, just maybe, we'll get our Christmas tree...